Healthy Habits: How To Prevent the Flu and Common Cold

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This week I got hit with my first cold in about 2 years. I rarely get sick these days because I’m so aware of how to prevent catching the dreaded flu/cold bug. However, this past couple of weeks I slacked off, worked too much, didn’t get enough sleep, didn’t workout enough, didn’t wash my hands enough and low and behold, I now have a cold. Prevention is real, my friends! Follow these key steps and you will improve your chances of staying healthy tenfold:

Wash Your Hands Like a Mad Germaphobe

Seriously. Wash your hands constantly. Before you eat, after you eat, after the restroom, anytime you leave your home, repeatedly when you’re not at home, and anytime you touch any public surface. Doorknobs, handrails, chair arms, pens, money, phones, and ATM machines are all major culprits for germs! You need to wash your hands constantly or use a hand sanitizer frequently to kill these germs that are lurking literally everywhere.

Wipe Everything Down

Get one of those economy size containers of Clorox wipes and wipe all surfaces down regularly. Especially at your work desk. Be sure to regularly wipe down your phones, laptops/tablets, etc. Keeping surfaces you’re frequently in contact with clean will help prevent the transmission of germs.

Beware of Public Transportation

This includes cabs, buses, subways, Citibikes, and airplanes! If you’re flying, wipe down your tray table, armrests and any other  hard surface surrounding you. And for goodness sakes, don’t even touch those free pillows and blankets unless they’re wrapped in sealed plastic! If you’re riding the subway or bus and you  need to hold on to the rails, keep a pair of washable gloves handy. If you must hold on to the rail with your bare hands,  wash them as soon as you can. Subways and buses are especially filthy. If you can skip the subway and walk -do it! Not only will you avoid germs, but you’ll get extra exercise. It’s a win-win.

Get Enough Sleep

Lack of sleep wears the immune system down. Sleep deprivation=culprit for sickness. Get a healthy amount of sleep (7-8 hours is usually ideal). During the winter months when cold and flu season is in full swing, it’s especially important to prioritize sleep. There’s nothing else in the world that can compensate for sleep, so you’re just  going to have to make it happen.

Healthy Diet

It’s no mystery that a healthy diet improves our lives in general. When it comes to cold and flu prevention, healthy eating is essential. You can’t expect to avoid sickness if you’re on a steady diet of McDonald’s. Be sure you’re eating plenty of veggies and fruits along with healthy fats and Omega-3’s found in foods such as fish and nuts. It’s also worth taking Emergen-C daily to keep your immune system fine-tuned.

Get a Flu Shot

I’m admittedly not completely sold on the flu shot, but most doctors recommend it, so it’s probably a smart decision to get one every year. Do some research  and talk to your doctor about what’s right for you.

No Sharing

I’ve never been a fan of communal food and drink sharing because it’s a recipe for germ disaster! It’s not rude to not sip out of someone’s cup or refuse to eat off their spoon -it’s SMART and preventative! If someone gets butthurt, just tell them the truth -you’re taking preventative measures. The other option is being laid up for a week because someone gave you their virus! Just say no to communal food/drink sharing.

Wear a Gas Mask

Everyone might think you’re Jason from Halloween, but at least you won’t get sick. Okay, I’m COMPLETELY kidding about this one. Really though, all these tips may seem like a lot of work or a little obsessive compulsive, but they work. If you want to stay on your A-game this season, it’s worth the extra effort to take these preventative measures.

Here’s to a healthy, germ-free holiday season!

Desiree Rabuse is a social entrepreneur and Founder & Editor-in-Chief of StyleFox® Media. She’s been in the entertainment/media business for over a decade, working both in front of and behind the camera. She loves traveling, martial arts, philosophy, coffee, and helping people lead healthy, happy, more efficient lives.

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